New center to help adults returning to school

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Adults who go back to school may have motivation but often lack basic English, math and study skills needed to succeed. For this reason, Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC) in Charlottesville soon will offer a College and Career Services Center to help returning students quickly brush up on their skills.

The project, which will take three years to develop, will be funded by a $365,487 grant from the U.S. Department of Education. 

The new center will focus on providing self-paced, computer-based instruction, as well as intensive academic coaching, says Dr. Frank Friedman, the president of PVCC. Currently, 35 percent of PVCC’s students are 25 years old or older. More than 300 are taking courses designed to bolster their writing, reading and math capabilities.

“What has happened before is that students have to take traditional developmental studies courses, and then they spend an entire semester or maybe even a year beefing up those basic skill levels,” he explains. “A lot of adults can’t wait that long. They can’t afford a long delay before they get into their curriculum of choice. This center will get them up to speed much more quickly.”

The center will also provide what Friedman calls “intrusive advising.” It will help adult students find resources they need to go to school, including child care, transportation and employment.

The new center will be staffed by four full-time employees and several part-time assistants. “That’s a win-win scenario. By persisting to a greater degree, the students will win by going out and being well-prepared for jobs, and the community will win by having that productive, skilled work force that employers need,” Friedman says.

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